When I went in for a routine echocardiogram, I didn't know what it was. I had a vague image of being hooked up to something like a lie detector, with needles scribbling lines on a graph. It turned out to be (am I the last person to know this?) a lot like the pictures they take of babies in the womb, cold jelly and all. When I looked on the screen, there it was, the engine that runs everything, pumping its continuous complex rhythm: in with the good blood, out with the bad blood. Little doors opened and closed with perfect timing, over and over and over. I was astounded. How had I not thought about this mysterious machine that floats like a living planet in the middle of my chest? What makes it go? Where does its life come from? My reaction was not unlike my amazement at seeing a sonogram of my son. (I almost expected to recognize little fingers and toes.) I was confronted with a miracle. I am thankful, on this Thanksgiving Day, for miracles.
(This is not my echocardiogram, by the way. I pulled it from the Web. I wish I had asked for mine, though.)
I am a writer for children and a former editor for Highlights and Highlights High Five. I live in a little farmhouse almost 150 years old in an ancient apple orchard in northeastern Pennsylvania, two miles from the Delaware River. The view from my porch is rolling fields, pine-covered hills, and deer and turkey. Here is where I sit and write when summer comes, watch the hummingbirds and chipmunks, and listen to the rain.